TUSCUMBIA — The 10th year of the "A Century of Quilts" exhibit will not disappoint, according to Glenn Rikard, who will conduct programs each Friday this month on the history behind the colorful artistry.

The exhibit is selected from personal collections, including Rikard's, with many made in the Tennessee Valley region and dating from 100 years ago to the present.

The display, which will be up starting Wednesday, continues through Oct. 26 at Belle Mont Mansion.

The historic home/museum is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday. Regular admission rates will apply — $6 for adults; $5 seniors, students and military; $3 for youth (ages 6-18).

This year's exhibit is designated an official Alabama 200 Bicentennial event.

On Fridays at 1 p.m. throughout the month, Rikard will present a special program on the quilts with each session including time for a show-and-tell.

Those attending are invited to bring quilts from their personal collection to share. Quilts may be heritage examples with a story, or may be contemporary quilts designed and made by the owner.

Ninon Parker, president of the Colbert County Historical Landmarks Foundation, said this year's quilt show will be dedicated to the late Mildred Helmsley, a beloved Belle Mont volunteer whose idea it was to start the annual quilt show.

There will be an exhibit of quilts that belonged to Helmsley.

Rikard, who is in his fifth year of conducting the well-attended program, will have seven quilts from his personal collection on display.

"We never have the same quilts, and there's always a nice variety from the practical to the artistic expression," Rikard said. "Some of our quilts this year date back further than 100 years."

Some of this year's quilts are machine-quilted in addition to the hand-quilted mainstays.

"I like to pick up a number of different approaches to the quilting process and this just broadens the scope of this particular artistry," Rickard said.

One of the focal points of this year's show is a red and white quilt dating back to the 1930s that Rikard acquired in Salem, Oregon, over the summer.

"Last year we had some quilts that predated the Civil War and we may well have that again this year," he said. "Every year the interest grows and we're having more and more visitors. These quilts tell stories and more and more people are listening."


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